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All Songs Considered

The Schneider family is full of nerds. If you were wondering whatever happened to The Apples In Stereo, well — its frontman Robert Schneider has spent the last five years getting his Ph.D in mathematics. No, really, he teaches and studies math at Emory University.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Stefanie Fernández, Lars Gotrich, Stephen Thompson and World Cafe host Talia Schlanger for a quick run through the best new albums out on May 25. That includes the highly anticipated (and instant classic) Daytona from rapper Pusha-T, reggaetón hit maker J Balvin, raw and ragged rock from Thunderpussy, effervescent synth-pop from CHVRCHES and more.

Featured Albums

  • Thunderpussy, Thunderpussy

The penumbra is the shadow beyond the shadow, its light only partially blocked by an object. Think of an eclipse, but only being able to experience the edge of it. Tsembla's "Penumbra" achieves a similar effect, its sound sources familiar, but obscured by some very chill electronic rhythms.

Björk doesn't so much perform on a stage — she inhabits a space.

The only antidote for the hell-in-a-handbasket blues is the stankiest of funks, and no one makes it stankier than George Clinton. The good doctor is here to prescribe Medicaid Fraud Dogg, the first album in 38 years from Parliament, the P-Funk empire's more soulful outfit.

San Francisco-based Pllush makes hazy dream-pop that pairs emotionally wrought lyrics with maxed-out shoegaze guitars. The band has developed a dense, harmony-rich sound over the course of several releases — all, up until now, under the name Plush. For the release of Stranger to the Pain, its forthcoming album, the band has added the second l to its name, honed its pop melodies and sharpened its guitar-heavy sound.

This is an unusual, beautiful and dark album curated by — and at times performed by — the Danish musician Agnes Obel. It's part of a series of artist-curated albums called Late Night Tales. Nils Frahm, The Flaming Lips, Jon Hopkins and others have put their own records together for the series in the past.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton chats with NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Marissa Lorusso, Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson for a sprint through six noteworthy albums out May 18. This includes the raging rock of Courtney Barnett, Atlanta rapper Nick Grant, wildly ambitious psych-folk from Ray La Montagne and a whole lot more.

Parquet Courts' fifth album, Wide Awake! is a turning point for the band. The four guys based in New York made conscious attempts to push their music out of their habitual tendencies toward aggressive rock and wound up with their most interesting record to date, with the help of producer Brian Burton (Danger Mouse).

Ray LaMontagne's music ought to be easy to pin down: He is, after all, a prolifically bearded, reclusive type with an acoustic guitar and an approachable voice. His music even dredges up familiar roots-music signifiers, from The Band-style ramblers to softly rendered ballads that recall Iron and Wine's Sam Beam.

I remember feeling absolutely free. I recall the sensation of joy.

I first saw Glenn Branca at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. in 1982. I came away from that concert wondering how it was that I, having spent so much of my life listening to music, had simply never thought about music simply as noise, perhaps somewhat organized, to varying degrees, but noise nonetheless. Branca, who died this past Sunday, gave me what may have been the loudest noise I'd ever heard that night, give or take a jackhammer or a jet engine, familiar sounds from growing up in Queens, N.Y.

Last week, we asked listeners to tell us about the songs that got them through school. As the stories poured in, we began to see some clear and common themes. For starters, school, while being an exciting time of profound change, is really hard. Many told us stories of battling depression, anxiety and issues of sexual identity, all while navigating a churning sea of uncertainty.

"I think this is one of my vaguest songs," Mitski says in this conversation about her new song, "Geyser." "Usually my songs have a narrative of some sort. But this song is all feeling."

Odetta Hartman's songs have a way of spraying ideas in every direction. Sometimes, they don't even feel like songs so much as fragments, interludes or brief, fleeting brainstorms — blurted phrases set against chopped-up bits of violin, banjo, samples and effects.

Mother's Day 2018 just got real. After years of creative reclusion — intermittently broken by a steady string of dynamic guest vocal appearances on other artists' projects — André 3000 has released nearly 22 minutes of new music in homage to his deceased parents.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton takes a quick run through May 11's essential album releases with NPR Music's Felix Contreras, Jewly Hight, Tom Huizenga, Lyndsey McKenna and Stephen Thompson. Featured albums include the irresistible pop of Charlie Puth, classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein, early folk recordings from The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, infectious guitar rock from Illuminati Hotties and more.

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